It wasn't the best of weeks at Indy for Danica Patrick, who is always a lightning rod for controversy. This week marked the first time she was actively booed following comments in which she appeared to criticize her team for her car's poor performance.
At Sunday's Indy 500, Danica was running solidly just outside the top 10 when everyone started gambling with fuel mileage. The late caution, thanks to a dramatic wreck, robbed the race of any finish-line drama it may have had, but it also caused a bit of confusion in placement.
After video review, IndyCar officials determined that three cars, including Patrick, illegally passed Marco Andretti after the caution flag flew on lap 199. So they brought Andretti up to third and bumped Alex Lloyd, Scott Dixon and Danica down one spot apiece.
The decision came more than two hours after the race concluded. Alex Lloyd's team said they had no plans to protest the reworked finishing order; no word yet from the other teams.
Still, though it may turn the stomachs of hardcore race fans, most eyes that turn to Indy turn to Danica. And she learned from her earlier comments, laying all praise at the feet of her crew:
"I’m very happy with the result, and the reason we got it were that our pit stops rocked and we had a perfect strategy," Patrick said. "I focused on making sure I lifted [off the gas] and got a tow from other cars to save fuel as the laps were winding down. I’m really glad the yellow came out at the end, because we were cutting it real close on fuel. That’s the roll of the dice and the team did a perfect job."
No, Danica didn't win. But she didn't embarrass herself or her team, either.